NewsChannel 11 Investigation into Hospital Security: Part Two - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/7/07

NewsChannel 11 Investigation into Hospital Security: Part Two

We showed you in our first story how security escorted me out of Northwest Hospital when they found out who I was.  You are about to see what happened in the second hospital where I was arrested. We found out police take hospital security seriously no matter who you are.

Our plan was to visit West Texas hospitals and report on hospital security.  We did not know what we would find or what security systems they might have in place.  

NewsChannel 11 goes undercover to find out if hospitals are really as safe as they say for those newborns and there moms'.

"I want you to know that I'm doing a story that's gonna make these hospitals look good," said Cecelia Jones.

It was around 8:30 at night when NewsChannel 11 went inside Baptist St. Anthony's Health Care System. I wanted to go inside, dressed in scrubs and carrying a hidden camera, to see if I would encounter whatever security systems the hospital had in place to protect newborn babies and if so, exactly how long it would take before I encountered them.

Northwest stopped me after ten minutes of wandering the maternity ward hallways and viewing the newborns at the nursery through a locked glass window. However, at BSA, I never had enough time to reach the nursery because within five minutes security spotted me. Why so fast?

We know now the first hospital told the second one I might be coming.  "Apparently, they were talking back and forth to BSA, they relayed information and they told me you were here. They told me to come here to get further information," said an APD officer.

Why would I attempt to go to BSA?  Well, we wanted to know for sure if their security was as airtight as Northwest's. The only way to find that out was to check it out.  As soon as I stepped off the elevator onto the maternity floor and into the public waiting room, I passed a security officer.  "Hi, how are you?" I had been spotted.

APD Officer: "Hi, I need to speak to you real quick. I'm APD. Do you have ID on you?"

Cecelia: "Yes I do. I'm NewsChannel 11."

APD: "Do you have your driver license?"

Cecelia: "Yes."

APD: "What is your business here?"

Cecelia: "What is my business? I am a reporter doing a story about hospital security."

An off duty Amarillo police officer working security at BSA placed a call to his supervisors and at that point, I was pulled into a nurses' break room fully guarded and had to wait until those supervisors got there.

Meanwhile, I'm talking on my cell phone to my lawyer, my news director and my photographer about what has happened. I also had this conversation with a BSA official, two security guards and an Amarillo Police Officer while I was waiting for the supervisors to get there.

BSA worker or nurse: "Have ya'll been getting as much of this rain as we have?"

Cecelia: "A lot of it. We had a down pour Sunday and Monday. Today was the first day of no rain."

Close to an hour later, the Amarillo police sergeant comes into the room.

Sgt. Young: "I'm Sergeant Young."

Cecelia: "Hi Sergeant Young."

Sgt. Young: "Ms. Coy, you're officially detained right now so you're not free to go."

Cecelia: "Ok, why is that?"

Sgt. Young: "Because I have a detective in route."

Cecelia: "OK, why do I have to speak to a detective?"

Sgt. Young: "Because we take this kind of thing very seriously."

Cecelia: "Ok. I'm the media.  And I want you to know that I'm doing a story that's gonna make these hospitals look good."

From there, the police moved me from the nurses' break room to the security director's office.

Cecelia: "They are moving me to the director's office, which is downstairs.  I'll stay on the phone with you."

And a Detective, Sgt. Phillip Watkins, who was working this investigation told a police officer this on the elevator.

Sgt. Watkins: "Why isn't she secure?"

APD Officer: "I didn't know anybody wanted her secured."

Cecelia: "What do you mean secured?"

Sgt. Watkins: "She's a suspect.  We need to make sure she is not given free reign."

Cecelia: "Ok, now I think they want to put me in cuffs."

Sgt. Watkins: "I am not ordering you in cuffs, just secured."

Cecelia: "What does that mean?"

Sgt. Watkins: "I'll ask the questions."

I was locked in the security director's office with a female officer while the police were confirming I was a NewsChannel 11 reporter doing an undercover investigation.  Thirty-minutes later, I was told I was being arrested for disorderly conduct and was taken to the city jail.

An hour later, I found out I was being arrested on two counts of attempted aggravated kidnapping and was taken to the Potter County Jail where I spent the next 12 hours.

Our investigation showed hospital security to be very tight. The hospitals and the police should have welcomed our investigation. They clearly did not.

As you know, exposing the facts, even if it would have showed weaknesses in the security system, is our job.   This case is under advisement with the District Attorney and police in Amarillo. We'll let you know if the D.A. takes action.

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